Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
I met Ronald on the sidewalk in the area of Washington DC known as “The Golden Triangle.” This is an area of high-rise office buildings and expensive real estate. Ronald was searching the sidewalks for salvageable cigarette butts. He said he didn’t have a lot of time to talk because the people who clean and wash down the sidewalks in front of these buildings would be along soon and any cigarette butts would be gone. Ronald has been homeless for at least ten years that he can recall. He lived with his mother in an apartment before that but was forced to leave. He can’t recall what happened. Ronald suffers from a variety of physical and mental problems. He has a number of open sores on his hands as well as a few cysts such as the one on the side of his face. He says that sometimes he goes to the hospital when they get infected but mostly he just lets them be. Ronald also repeats himself quite a bit, forgetting where he was in a story and needing to start over. In spite of these deficits, Ronald is an affable and friendly man who was willing to speak with me as long as I walked with him in search of trash on the street. He agreed to this photograph in exchange for a monetary donation which I’m sure was used to purchase cigarettes. If you happen to see someone like Ronald in your city, stop and ask how they are doing and if you can help in some way. I guarantee you’ll both be better off for having had that experience.